"I'm confident this is one of the best fucking line-ups you'll ever see," said Against Me!'s Tom Gabel, before launching into "Don't Lose Touch." And in a lot of ways, he's absolutely right, especially since I grew up on all three of these bands. They're still some of my favourites and to see them together on the same bill was pretty awesome. And the fact that this line-up is pretty much exclusive to western Canada made the show even better. Living out here, you get used to losing all the amazing tours to Toronto and for once I can say we ended up with the better deal.
It's best to see Against Me! without a barricade, but even with one they can still deliver an amazing show. They played a fairly diverse set, especially compared to the last time I saw them play an arena. Some people were into it, but most of the crowd seemed indifferent until they played their radio hit "Thrash Unreal" at the end. I usually hate it when bands don't talk to the crowd very much, but somehow Against Me! can pull it off. They're one of the more energetic bands you'll see live and it's great to just watch them play.
Pints of Guinness Make You Strong
White People For Peace
Don't Lose Touch
Because Of The Shame
Walking Is Still Honest
Sink, Florida, Sink
I Was a Teenage Anarchist
The band I was most excited to see that night was Rancid and they definitely lived up to my high expectations. I was fortunate enough to catch them at Rock on the Range two years ago, but their set was incredibly short and it was raining so I was glad to catch a longer show. Tim Armstrong came out solo in his trademark leather jacket and hat, wearing sunglasses. He addressed the crowd and launched into "Radio" with the rest of the band coming out shortly after. The way he carries himself and the crowd, moving all over the stage, bending his mic stand, few guys come close to him. I can honestly say he's one of the best front men I've seen perform. I was wondering if they might be a bit rusty, especially since this was their first night and they haven't toured much, if at all, this year. But they weren't. Lars was just as energetic, especially when it was Tim's turn to sing and while Matt didn't move around as much, it still looked like he was having a blast. Same with Branden, I still think it's so amazing he left The Used to join up with Rancid.
They had a gigantic backdrop and used two of Blink's screens, but since there weren't any close-ups they probably could have done without. Rancid were on stage for an hour and played at least one song off of all their records. Their 2000 self-titled was mostly ignored and not surprisingly, most of the tracks came off of ...And Out Come The Wolves. It would have been nice to have heard "Hoover Street" and a few more from Life Won't Wait, but I wasn't too surprised. They made a good choice and and the crowd was definitely into it. Maybe I wasn't the only one who was most excited for Rancid after all.
Last One To Die
Journey To The End Of The East Bay
East Bay Night
It's Quite Alright
Outta My Mind
The 11th Hour
Fall Back Down
And of course, Blink-182. While I was mainly there for Rancid, there's no denying my love for Blink. And if I never got into Blink, who knows if I would have picked up any Rancid records in the first place. By now the floor was pretty much packed full of people and I'm glad I had seats. I discovered just how much I hated pits in arenas at their reunion show in 2009. I read Alex's review and I honestly think it sums up the show I saw as well. I agree that this was their best yet, although I'm not too sure if that was because I could actually pay attention to what was happening onstage this time. The guys sounded great, but they were lacking the energy Rancid had. Their set was very flashy, they made much better use of the screens than Rancid did and no matter what, Travis' drum solo will always be amazing. The confetti cannons at the end of "Dammit" add a nice touch too.
The set-list seemed to be identical, but they might have added in a few more joke songs. And of course, the guys delivered with their usual stage banter. Before "I Miss You" someone tossed a bra to Tom and they made a joke about big testicles before Mark put it on. The new songs sounded good and made me even more excited to hear Neighborhoods. Ultimately I'd say the show delivered, although some people behind me loudly complained that they didn't play "Adam's Song" when it was over.
Up All Night
The Rock Show
What's My Age Again?
I Miss You
Stay Together For the Kids
Happy Holidays, You Bastard
Heart's All Gone
Ghost On The Dance Floor
All The Small Things
When You Fucked Grandpa
And even though they won't read this, I want to thank Blink for remembering western Canada because not enough American bands do. They could have opted out like My Chemical Romance, but instead they came and put together an even stronger line-up.
Went to the show last night, here's my take on it:
After playing a surprise show just weeks earlier at a small bar called The Albert, it's weird to see them move up behind a gigantic barridade at the MTS Centre. They still killed it though, as they kicked off their shorter set with "Hail Destroyer" and played other tracks like "Lucifer's Rocking Chair," "Pneumonia Hawk" and of course their Beastie Boys cover "Sabotage" among others. The venue was still pretty empty for their set, but the ones that made an effort to show up early didn't seem let down at all. The interview with Liam went well, expect it in 2-3 weeks along with the one with Alan from Four Year Strong. I was told that a headlining tour will be happening around this fall so get excited for that!
It took me awhile to really appreciate Against Me! and Tom Gabel's voice, but once I did I was hooked. Because of this, I also missed them when they've come through in the past so it was nice to finally see them. With the awesome album art for White Crosses hanging, they walked on to "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" and tore right into "Rapid Decompression." Even though it just leaked, they played a lot more new songs than I was expecting. Even "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" which totally made me smile. They are one of the few bands that truly sound better live than on recordings and it made up for the fact that they barely talked to the crowd:
I saw this band headline the Burton Cummings Theatre in 2007 and near the end it turned into a gigantic party. They invited everyone on stage, ran through the crowd and George even climbed up to the second balcony, without using the stairs. I have never seen a band get the crowd so involved and create such an intimate performance. They simply played last night though and while I'm not surprised at all, I know that this band can be capable of a much more with a longer set and a better venue. That's my only complaint however, they still sounded great and stuck to a lot of their newer stuff. They still haven't headlined Canada in support of Old Crows/Young Cardinals so it made sense:
There were lots of kids and parents at the show last night waiting for this band and it kind of reminded me of when I saw Billy Talent back in 2003 when I was in grade 7. Mind you, their debut wasn't released and I was there for Sum 41 but still, it's a much different vibe than the shows I usually go to. You can hate on Billy Talent for making the same record all you want, but I'm happy to see how far they've gone. At least in Canada, the United States still hasn't caught on to one of our most popular bands. And really, no other band even comes close to sounding like them.
Anyway, they kicked off the show with "Devil in a Midnight Mass." Ben is still an amusing frontman and I like how he's not afraid to talk to the crowd. He held up an 87 jersey and talked about Canada taking the gold for hockey, just as an example. And someone in the pit brought a Canadian flag with them and was holding it up so that was pretty awesome. Of course, the MTS Centre started to get crazy too. I guess a man punched a woman in the face and I'm not surprised at all. Whenever you go to that arena, you can be assured people will get hurt.
The highlight was probably when Tom Gabel from Against Me! came up to sing "Turn Your Back" with Ben. He said that never happened before, but I think he was just saying that. Anyone confirm? The lights and stuff were basic and just OK. Ian added on an awesome, slightly longer solo to "Devil On My Shoulder," the second last song of the night so that was cool. Anyway, here is the set list: